The CIA and FBI are worried about President Trump’s release of thousands of JFK assassination files. Apparently, 54 years has not allowed them enough time to review the documents, so they’ve asked him for another six-month delay. The new deadline for the withheld documents is April 26, 2018. S.T. Patrick spoke with Joseph Green of the Hidden History Center to discuss the new documents released; podcast link below.
By S.T. Patrick
Though President Donald Trump has acquiesced to the CIA and FBI that requested another 180 days to reevaluate their reasons for redactions, the president did not block the release of over 2,800 John F. Kennedy assassination documents to the public. The releases coincided with the Oct. 26 date that had been set by the JFK Records Act of 1992—25 years to the day after the act was passed by Congress.
In July, the National Archives began releasing the first batch of documents. The releases came earlier than researchers had been expecting and included 441 CIA and FBI documents that had been completely withheld and 3,369 previously released documents that had been redacted to varying degrees.
The first significant revelation from the July records release concerned Earle Cabell, who was the mayor of Dallas in 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated. Documents revealed that Cabell had been a CIA asset since 1956. His brother, Charles Cabell, had been deputy director of the CIA until Kennedy forced him to resign in the CIA shake-up that emanated from the Bay of Pigs fallout.
Another newly released record describes a phone call made 25 minutes before the assassination. The anonymous call to the British Cambridge News warned a reporter that some “big news” was coming. The caller then suggested that the reporter call the American embassy for details. After the assassination, the reporter informed the Cambridge police, who then relayed the information to MI5, the UK’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.
Dr. John Newman, author of JFK & Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA, and Jefferson Morley of “JFKfacts.org” have been mining the 2017 releases for information on what and when the CIA knew about alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Morley, the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, has been using the documents to argue that the CIA controlled, rather than botched, the Warren Commission’s investigation of Oswald.
“The CIA made at least four false statements to investigators,” Morley wrote. “The effect of these statements was to conceal what top CIA officers, including Angleton, knew of Oswald while JFK was still alive.”
The new documents appear to quell many arguments that the KGB was actively involved in both Oswald’s preparation and the assassination itself. However, new questions have been raised about Cuban involvement. Theorists who have claimed involvement from Fidel Castro point to CIA attempts to assassinate Castro as motive. JFK assassination researchers such as Joseph Green of the Hidden History Center disagree in light of Castro’s own comments.
“If you’ve ever read what Castro said on Nov. 23, 1963, it’s an amazing speech,” Green said. “Castro had it figured out immediately. He said, ‘They’re going to blame it on us.’ Castro knew he was losing an ally. Lyndon Johnson’s foreign policy with respect to Cuba was not going to be the same as Kennedy’s. But he also saw that he was being set up.”
Green also believes the withheld documents are equally telling, as they weave a narrative about who is being protected.
“Are we covering up all of this because we are trying to protect the fact that the KGB sent (Oswald)?” Green asked. “Would the CIA be concerned about documents implicating Castro? No. There’s only one reason for the government to be upset and delaying after 54 years the release of documents that should be completely harmless documents.”
On Oct. 21, Trump tweeted that he would be “allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK files to be opened.” Critics condemned the semantics of the tweet, stating that the president does not “allow” the release of the documents. The 1992 law mandates their release. He can, however, choose to block specific releases if he can show, according to the JFK Records Act, that a release would signify an “identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations . . . and that the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was set up by the act to serve as an independent agency that would consider arguments and then render decisions when the release of a record was challenged by a government agency. In its final report, the ARRB cited the Oliver Stone film “JFK” as a catalyst for the passage of the JFK Records Act. Since 1992, the ARRB has declassified over 5 million documents.
The general public still awaits a “smoking gun” document that the vast majority of researchers know will never come. The documents that have already been released add colors and dimensions to a basic construct that was established by first-generation researchers that questioned the Warren Commission immediately after its volumes were released in 1964.
A deadline for those documents withheld for further review has been set for April 26, 2018.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer” News Show. His email is [email protected].